I wasn’t able to attend the Ramble on September 29th but at about 9 pm, I got this email from Northfielder Ben Witt, proprietor of Milltown Cycles in Faribault and a big supporter of RBNC:
Griff, it is my pleasure to represent River Bend and inform you that you’ve won the River Bend Raffle, claiming a $2000 prize! Taxes will be withheld from that amount, and Barbara will inform you of the specifics. Congrats sir, and thanks for supporting River Bend!
Cool. Playing bingo at DJJD is about the extent of my gambling habit and I think I won $15 at it once.
By the time I picked up my check yesterday from RBNC Executive Director Barbara Caldwell, I’d already purchased a pump/jump park bike with my winnings. I then promptly went downtown Faribault to Milltown Cycles to purchase some wool socks for mountain biking. Local bike shops are likely to see a little more of the winnings circulating through their stores but the bulk of it is going towards a little home improvement project that Robbie has been eager to finish.
If you live downtown and need your car tomorrow (4th of July), move it before you go to bed tonight because the barricades for the 13th annual 4th of July Criterium (bicycle races, for the clueless) start going up at 5 am on the 4th.
One of Mary Witt’s sons, Ben Witt of Milltown Cycles, is the organizer of this event so she was out last night plastering flyers on the doors of all the downtown area residences. The flyer reads in part:
If you live within the course and will need the use of your car during the day of July 4th, you will need to move your car outside of the course prior to the event. Exceptions will not be made and cars will not be permitted under any circumstances during the duration of the day.
Robbie and I attended the world premiere of Reveal the Path at the Riverview Theater in Minneapolis last night, along with a few hundred other bike nuts and quite a few Northfielders:
A visually stunning adventure by bike: Reveal the Path explores the world’s playgrounds in Europe’s snow capped mountains, Scotland’s lush valleys, Alaska’s rugged coastal beaches and Morocco’s high desert landscapes…
Filmed across four continents and featuring Tour Divide race legends, Matthew Lee & Kurt Refsnider, this immersive film is sure to ignite the dream in you.
Luminaries from QBP and its Salsa Cycles division, the main sponsor of the movie and the event, were on hand. They were marginally adequate as movie theater attendants:
Left: Former Northfielder John Gaddo, QBP Outside Sales Rep Center: Andy Palmer, Salsa Customer Service Right: John Gaddo and Jason Boucher, Salsa General Manager. See Jason’s ImagineGnat blog ("Bicycles – Photography – People – Exploration")
Some Northfielders and other bike nuts at the schmooze fest in the theater lobby:
Barbara set a positive tone to the meeting right from the start, saying that they were genuinely eager to learn more about mountain biking, given the increase in riders that they’ve seen recently. She said that while they had no desire to become a mountain bike park ("We’re a nature center"), they are multi-use and see mountain biking as another way to engage the public in their mission.
Garrett showed a special map he’d created of all the trails in the park, both authorized and unauthorized. (I’ve obscured the map in the photo above.)
Ben Witt expressed his appreciation for the willingness of RNBC staff to even have the meeting, seeing it as a huge opportunity. He explained how many sections of the authorized trails are not only bad for the park because of erosion, they’re also not the new style of mountain bike trails (eg, switchbacks for up-hills) that help to make the sport so enjoyable.
The rest of the meeting was open discussion. I urged RNBC to see mountain biking not as something to do to accommodate to a group of users but rather as a strategy to protect the park. By putting in new-style mountain bike ‘flow’ trails that are fun and challenging for a range of skill levels, they’ll create a powerful incentive for riders to only ride on those trails, thereby protecting the rest of the park.
John Ebling made the point that local ‘ownership’ of these trails by local mountain bikers who work to create and maintain them eventually can create a culture of responsible use by the wider mountain biking community.
The plan now is to create a local task force or working group to figure out next steps. Contact Barbara or Ben (see right sidebar of his Milltown Cycles blog) if you’d like to be involved.
And above all, become a RNBC member. Our voices as mountain bikers will be far more influential if we show we care enough about RBNC to support them financially. Their online membership signup form makes it fast and easy.
Last night, Milltown Cycles proprietor Ben Witt hosted a viewing of a feature film titled Ride The Divide at the Viking Theater in St. Olaf’s Buntrock Commons. It’s about "the world’s toughest mountain bike race" called the Tour Divide, an "… ultra-cycling challenge to pedal solo and self-supported the length of Great Divide Mountain Bike Route…as fast as possible." It’s 2,700 miles from Banff, Alberta to the Mexican border.
After riding the 7 mile advanced loop at Murphy, we chowed down at Chipotle in Apple Valley, biked through UMore Park in Dakota County, and arrived back in Northfield in time for dinner. About 85 miles, 9 hours. Whew!